A Knocked-Out Tooth (Avulsed Tooth)

Man with Knocked out tooth

Blog Highlights

  • A knocked-out tooth is a serious emergency for permanent teeth
  • The most important thing to do when trying to save an avulsed tooth is to keep it wet
  • A tooth is more likely to be saved if you can get to your dentist within an hour of the accident

If one of your teeth has been knocked-out, you should visit Emergency Dentistry in Orem. A knocked-out tooth is a serious emergency for permanent teeth. Once a permanent tooth is knocked free from its socket, there is a short window of time during which the tooth can be saved. If the tooth can’t be saved, there are other treatment options.

A tooth’s surrounding tissues, the blood vessels and nerves, are always damaged when a tooth is knocked-out. These tissues can’t be repaired, but a tooth can often be re-implanted successfully with an accompanying root canal. In many cases, the bone of the jaw has no problem reattaching to the root of a tooth if treated quickly.

To Save the Tooth

The most important thing to do when trying to save an avulsed tooth is to keep it wet. If the tooth is dirty, delicately rinse it with milk. Water can be used if milk is not available. Do not use any kind of fabric on the tooth to dry or wipe  it as this could lead to further damage. As you travel to your dentist, store your tooth in a cup of milk. You can also keep the tooth between your gums and cheek or you can collect your saliva in a cup and place the tooth there. A cup of water could be used, but only as a last resort.

In general, be careful when handling the tooth. Do not touch its root, the section of the tooth that rests under the gums. You can try to slip the tooth back into the socket, but make sure the tooth is facing the right way and don’t force it. If it slips in easily, great, leave it there and call your dentist immediately. If it doesn’t slide into place, keep the tooth moist and get to your dentist as soon as possible.

At the Dentist’s Office

A tooth is more likely to be saved if you can get to your dentist within an hour of the accident. Once you arrive at your dentist’s office, he or she will clean any debris from the socket and start to re-implant the knocked-out tooth. Sometimes it is simple, other times it may be more complicated, especially if the tooth or bone near the socket is broken.

Your dentist will anchor your tooth to the socket by using soft wire to splint it to the neighboring teeth. This will hold the tooth in place for several days as the area begins to heal. In some cases, you may need a root canal. This may happen immediately or your dentist may choose to wait. In most cases, the tooth’s root will reattach to the bone within three to four weeks, if the area sustained serious damage the healing process may take longer.

Once the tooth is implanted and splinted, you will be sent home. You should make an appointment to see your dentist in three to six months to ensure the tooth is healing properly. It may take a few years for your dentist to be 100% sure that the tooth has healed successfully.